Judges 19:1-20:48 ~ John 3:22-4:3 ~ Psalm 104:24-35 ~ Proverbs 14:22-2w
Today is the 4th day of May. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and excited to be here with you today around this global campfire that is this community and ready to open the scriptures and step away and allow them to wash into our lives and hearts, changing us, continuing that slow process that happens inside. So we’re reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible this week, and we’ve been spending a little time getting to know the judges of Israel, the people who rose into leadership for specific times over the generations that followed Moses and Joshua’s leadership. This will be our last full day in the book of Judges. Tomorrow we’ll finish it and move forward, but today, Judges chapter 19, verse 1 through 20:48.
We get to the end of the book of Judges and then we get walloped upside the head with this horrible story It is another of those times where you’re like, “Wait, what is going on here?” I mean, it’s enough to see this woman get raped to death in Gibeah, but then what we have is a full-blown civil war going on among Israelites, a true civil war intent on annihilating the entire tribe of Benjamin.
Things escalated so fast. As horrible a story as this is, it has deep implications in our own lives because what we have is this situation where seemingly insignificant choices are made by seemingly insignificant people and the systematic choices grow to become what we read about today. A Levite from the hills has essentially a common law wife who for whatever reason is unfaithful and returns to Bethlehem to her father. It could be that the guy was a tyrant. It could be that she was a loose woman. We don’t know. It happened. She goes home. Four months go by. He goes to pursue reconciliation and when he gets to Bethlehem his father-in-law keeps asking him to stay. So he stays a few days and then they are going to leave. And then the father is like, “just stay, it’s getting late,” so they stay. And then the next day, “ah, just stay over and leave first thing in the morning” and they stay, until one day it is getting late in the day and the guy has had enough and he is like now we’re going to go because if we don’t go, we’re never going to get out of here.
So they set out at the end of the day instead of the beginning of the day, which is a crucial point in this story. Had they left first thing in the morning, they could have made it all the way home, but as it turns out, he just kept getting pressured to stay over, stay over, stay over and he is going to leave so they have to overnight somewhere. Ironically, none of this story would have ever happened at all if they didn’t have to overnight somewhere. They are not going to stay over in Jerusalem because it is not an Israelite city at the time. It was called Jebus and was inhabited by the Jebusites. They are going to keep going to a city that is of their own people, and that is Gibeah, which is just outside of Jerusalem. Its sad ruins still exist in a large mound. It is kind of a tough place to get to, just a lot of political overtones in that particular area that go way back. I’ve been there. I’ve stood atop it. It is a sad place, especially in light of this story.
So these guys are going to stay among the Israelites and they go to Gibeah. We know what happens. It is a similar story to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. We brush up against this interesting patriarchal society that they are living in, so the women there are not valued the way that we would now, so when these evil men come and really want to rape the Levite, the man that is there, the concubine is forced out the door and she is raped to death. There is no other way to say it. That is what happened in this story in the scriptures. Just that is enough. It is the most awful of stories.
When the man gets up and finds his concubine dead, he takes her home and then divides her body. That’s pretty grizzly. He sends it to the far reaches of Israel, to all the other tribes and that really escalates things. The news travels fast. That is the kind of thing that spreads virally for the time. None of this could get posted on social media or anything. That didn’t exist, but this kind of news, this did spread, and so everyone is quickly, quickly talking about this and 400,000 people come together to just figure this thing out. They go to where the Ark of the Covenant is. They begin to sit before God to try and figure this out because, as they said, nothing like this had ever happened before in Israel.
So we now see this insignificant choice to leave and go home or this insignificant choice of domestic unrest, or whatever was going on there in the very beginning between these two people, has not only escalated to this woman’s horrible death, a death that she did not deserve, now we have almost half a million people trying to figure out what to do. Even in the midst of that, had they just left in the morning, this would not be a story.
So we know what happens. The Israelites, the people who have gathered together, make demands of the tribe of Benjamin to deliver the fugitives for justice. That is what the offer is. This isn’t going to be a civil war at some point. It is just this kind of stuff cannot go on in this country. Nothing like this has ever happened before and they have to give up these fugitive men who perpetrated this violence. “This is not who we are and this is not what we do, but those men, they need to face justice for what they’ve done.”
Benjamin, the tribe, digs in its heels. They won’t give up the guys, so they bring what they can bring together, which is like 5% of the army of Israel that they are able to get together, and battles happen and tens of thousands of people die over the course of a couple of days. Then on the final day Benjamin, the tribe of Benjamin is wiped from the face of the earth. Six hundred men are holed up at the rock of Rimmon in a cave for four months. They are the last of the Benjaminites.
These kinds of stories have historically and it has been true in my life, like I would get to this kind of story when I first started reading the Bible and I’m like why is this in the Bible? Because I had this assumption that everything that is in the Bible is something God did. Everything that is in the Bible is something that God had his hand in. So I would immediately reach a story like this and blame God. Like, what in the heck is going on here? And, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this, only to read it again and again and realize God didn’t do this.
It is so easy for us to blame God for things that he has nothing to do with. It is so easy in our lives to turn our attention and demands toward someone else, to pass things along, and if we can’t figure it out, then it has to be God’s fault somehow. But in this story that is not what happened. God doesn’t speak at all in this story until the people are before him asking about what to do in terms of justice. But everything that happened before that, it just happened. What we can learn here is that insignificant things may not be insignificant. Little flippant choices, words, actions, activities that we think mean nothing, that may not be true. What may be true is that everything matters, that as beings created in the image of God with a will and the ability to exercise that will, that freedom, that everything we do is creating something. Everything that we choose has some outcome. Every word that we say has possibility. Every activity has an outcome.
It’s not just about us. The things that we do and say, they can have reverberations that we may never know about. Maybe we’re at a restaurant and we’re getting bad service and so we’re terribly rude to the staff. We just don’t know what is going on in our server’s life. She or he, their life could be coming unglued at the seams and we’ve just perpetuated the problem. We can easily go, “Well, I’m here paying for a certain thing and I expect to get that certain thing,” but then we stop paying attention to the fact that people are people, like fellow brothers and sisters in this world, part of the human race created in God’s image, and so our meanness could perpetuate something else in that person’s life. Maybe they feel even worse about themselves, go home, are mean to the kids, have a huge fight, go out, other bad things happen, and everything compounds itself.
Everything matters. This is why we see in Jesus’ teachings that he is continually showing us that everything matters and that we are participating in the redemption of the world by not adding to the misery, but rather taking it out of the world.
If we want to see God’s hand in this, then we have to understand we’re not at the end of the story yet, but I’ll give a spoiler. Benjamin right now, where we left the story today, is 600 people. The entire tribe is gone and they are all men. So is Benjamin history? Is this the point where we say goodbye? It’s not. God redeems things and Benjamin won’t be completely destroyed. In fact, they’ll start to rebuild and then not too far from now Israel is going to be wanting a king. This isn’t something God is affirming. He wants to be their king. They are better off under his leadership, but they want a king. They want to be like everybody else. So he is going to pick one for them and that king is going to end up coming from the smallest family in the tribe of Benjamin.
Father, we thank you for your word even when it’s disruptive. We love the comfort and we love the promise and we love walking with you. We love our minds and hearts to be open to your word and to your leadership in our lives, but it also disrupts us in really fundamental places. These kinds of stories here certainly do that to us, but now we have this opportunity to understand that everything we do matters. It does. We’re bringing light or we’re bringing darkness and those things have reverberations. So we invite your Holy Spirit into our lives because there is always more to the story than we ever know. There is always more going on. So you have given us the ability by the power of your Holy Spirit to live very intentionally and very aware and very vigilant. Most of the time we’re half asleep and most of the time we’re very self-centered. Everything is happening to us and about us and so we’re not paying attention to the footprint of our life in this world and the residue that we leave behind, the trail that follows us everywhere we go. This gives us the opportunity to look and see if it is just carnage or if it is healthy and fruitful and thriving. So come Holy Spirit into some of the things that are being brought up here. Help us to pay attention to what we’re doing. We ask this in your mighty name, by your authority and through your power. In the name of Jesus, amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. This is Melody from Canada and after listening today, May 1st, to the prayer requests, I have a verse. This is Isaiah 40:1 and Isaiah 57:18. Comfort, comfort my people says your God. I’ve seen his face and will heal him. I will raise him also and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners. And all those with broken hearts over your marriage and over your children, I speak to the comfort of the Lord Jesus, that you are a new creation and he delights in you and he is with you and I pray for those who feel that they are at their rock bottom, __ that weeping lasts for the night, joy will come in the morning, and I pray that your morning will come, your mourning will end and your morning will begin soon. My voice is really croaky because I have a cough, but I felt led to sing a wedding song that I wrote over you. [singing] Jesus delights in you. His new creation, he rejoices over you. __ our God is faithful to provide every good and perfect gift from above. Amen.
Hey DAB family. This is Sam in Northern California. Hey, I just want to talk a little bit about us, the family, communication and relationships, all relationships. Not just husband/wife, all relationships, mother/daughter, father/son, just a plethora of relationships. So the average person speaks out 20,000 words a day and knowing that Satan is constantly whispering uglies in our ears, it is way easy for us to get out something that is not what we intended. In the beginning of my relationship with my wife, I said A-B-C and she would get angry and wonder, “What are you talking about?” “Why would you say that?” I had to explain to her what exactly I meant. Now she asks me before getting angry, “Hey, what did mean by A-B-C?” And I would say, “Well, I’m actually saying Q-R-S. I meant to say Q-R-S.” It’s important as a family that we think the best of each other. So when we say something, in our heads it may sound ugly, but we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, so we make an excuse for that person. We know for a fact that they are not saying anything nasty. Let me ask them, “Hey, what did you mean by this?” They might explain to us. And even though we don’t get the chance to ask them, we can simply know that we know that we know that these people are our family, so they think the best of us. So what Satan is telling us is not what it is. It is what God is telling us, what the Holy Spirit is telling us. Just keep that in mind, guys, as we deal with each other here because we are a family and we do have each other’s back, so just keep that in mind. Don’t allow our good intentions to offend you. Okay, love you guys. Bye.
Hello, this is Jesus is my Friend from Michigan. I’ve been listening for about a year. I’ve wanted to call in several other times, but I haven’t. Now I’m calling in because my burden is getting pretty heavy to carry. I lost my father at the end of March and my dad wanted me to celebrate his life and I’m happy for him that he’s in a better place. I love him and I miss him. At my father’s funeral at the beginning of April my mother went and she’s pretty much been sick ever since. This is just a hateful and vicious attack I understand from the enemy, but I’ve been praying for my mother. She has rheumatoid arthritis and she has just been very sick lately and I’m asking for prayers for that. Thank you. God bless.
Good morning family. This is Redeemed in Him from Virginia. I’ve wanted to call to ask all the Dabbers to please continue to set your alarm for 2 p.m. and remember our David for Kansas and pray for all the Dabbers and all the calls that are coming in. Today is May 2nd and I heard a few prayers that I wanted to just mention. Humbled and Broken was a first-time caller and I wanted you to know, sister, that we stand in total agreement with God’s word that we are in a war and we are praying for your son Randy, open heart surgery. There was another first-time caller. I didn’t get your name but you had been a one-year listener and you were calling about prayer for your marriage and forgiveness. I just wanted you to know that I’ll be praying for you and that for my own self, my marriage was over. It was completely over and when I made a commitment to go all out with the Lord, whether my marriage was restored or not, that is when he completely transformed my marriage, myself, everything about my life. And Daniel Johnson Jr., I just wanted you to know, brother, that there are no words for loss of a sibling or loss of a loved one. We are praying for you and we love you so much. I love you all, Dabbers. Bye.
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. This is Stanley from Maryland. I’m just going to read a quick passage from Proverbs 2:1-11. My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart for understanding, for if you cry for discernment and lift your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God, for the Lord gives wisdom. From his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths with justice, and he preserves the way of his godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity in ever good course, for wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will guard you. Understanding will watch over you. Proverbs 2:1-11. My father used to speak this over myself and my brother in the car when we were kids going to school and it is funny how when you speak the word of God out loud it gets down into you. Slave of Jesus, I really want to thank you for making the point to say scriptures out loud because it does work and since my father used to speak that over me on the way to school, I now have it kind of inside of me. So I just wanted to share that with you guys. Alright, have a blessed day. Bye.
Hello DAB family. This is Chante calling from Detroit and I’m just really overwhelmed right now. I’m about ready to walk off of my job. The pressure is too intense. I’m continuing to let so many people down. I’m trying to do the best that I can, but I keep failing at things, not understanding things, and I don’t like all this pressure every day, all this stress every day. I try to keep a positive face. I try to consider it pure joy, but it is so painful right now. So I’m just asking for everybody’s prayers and I’m also praying that you would pray for me to have wisdom. If it is time for me to seek a new job, for me to just do it, make the time and fill out the applications and do what I need to do or if I’m supposed to stay here, I pray that I would be able to do better. So I thank you all for your prayers. Thank you so much. Bye-bye.